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Blackburn Rovers caretaker boss Gary Bowyer

 

Championship football is unforgiving to the hardest working of teams – it takes effort and commitment to stay in the division and the same to get out of it. Throwing money at the problem won’t fix it. Especially if the problem is exacerbated by a complete lack of trust in the manager you’re appointing.

Blackburn spent £8million on striker Jordan Rhodes, and for that outlay they got a player capable of scoring in excess of 20 goals this season. Rhodes has done just that, scoring a superbly impressive 23 goals this season, and the Scotsman isn’t to blame for his side’s failings.

Rovers have an array of Premier League experience to call upon,  lining up with the likes of Danny Murphy, David Bentley, Leon Best, David Dunn and more – players who have shown their ability at the highest level; players capable of producing match-winning performances. But it’s not the Premier League experience which has cost Blackburn.

 

Blackburn’s problems stem purely from their managerial indecision. Steve Kean’s resignation came because he felt the position had been made untenable. His decision to depart should have provided a watershed moment for the Venky family – an opportunity to accept mistakes were made and to find a manager to invest their future in.

What has happened since, however, has turned Blackburn into the object of much ridicule and a side that is currently in freefall. The appointment and subsequent sackings of Henning Berg and Michael Appleton have forced Gary Bowyer, one of the club’s coaches, to take the interim position for a second time this season. While his first stint saw them collect three wins in four games, his current spell has seen them lose twice and draw once.

The club’s defeat this weekend was significant, as a 3-2 loss away at Sheffield Wednesday dropped Blackburn into the bottom three for the first time this season. Their remaining fixtures will see them face two promotion-chasing sides in Watford and Crystal Palace, while their greatest challenge might come in a little more than a week’s time as they take on fellow relegation-battlers Huddersfield Town.

Whatever Blackburn do in the remaining weeks of this season, it is imperative that the club learns from its mistakes. Having five different managers in one season will punish you.

 

ELSEWHERE

On the subject of Blackburn Rovers, the heat on relegation-battling sides continues to rise, with six teams separated by six points. Sean O’Driscoll’s Bristol City look certainties for the drop as the bottom team in the league, seven points adrift of Peterborough.

City’s scrap for safety wasn’t helped by their 3-1 defeat to Burnley having seen Albert Adomah give them the lead. Goals from Jason Shackell, Grant McCann and Martin Paterson secured the three points for the Clarets, with Steven Davies missing a penalty which could have put the Robins level at 2-2.

Fellow relegation-threatened sides Huddersfield Town and Peterborough United fought out an entertaining but ultimately frustrating 2-2 draw, a result which does neither side a great deal of good. Peterborough still sit in 23rd place while Huddersfield continue to hover just above the relegation zone.

Ipswich Town have climbed away from the bottom three and now sit in 14th place, having beaten Derby County with what Mick McCarthy called a robbery of a performance. Derby had dominated but suffered when a 93rd-minute Carlos Edwards strike gave the Tractor Boys the win.

The strangest incident of the day came at St Andrews in a 1-1 draw between Millwall and Birmingham City. Chris Taylor thought he had given the Lions the lead only for it to be ruled out for offside. On consulting his assistant, the referee changed his mind and gave the goal, only to then change his mind once more following consultation with his fourth official. Taylor did, however, get on the score-sheet with a goal to level out Wes Thomas’ strike for the Blues.

 

Of the promotion chasers, only Hull City and Bolton Wanderers won their game. Hull’s 1-0 win over Middlesbrough gives them a three-point lead over Watford in third, while Bolton’s 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers keeps them within touch of the play-offs.

Leicester City’s 1-1 draw Brighton & Hove Albion keeps the Foxes within reach of the play-offs and put an end to their dismal run of form which saw them drop out of the play-off zone entirely.

Crystal Palace, who have also seen their chase for the remaining automatic spot gradually disappear, put an end to their run of three defeats in a row with a dominant yet goalless draw against Barnsley. The game hit the headlines for unusual reasons, with Barnsley being forced to wear Palace’s away kit due to their own kit clashing with Palace’s.

Nottingham Forest secured a point thanks to a late Lewis McGugan penalty, having seen Blackpool take the lead thanks to a Ludovic Sylvestre strike. And finally, Cardiff City and Watford played out an entertaining yet scrappy 0-0 draw at Vicarage Road.

 

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